Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Maps of the Week

This week I was really impressed with how Chicago's Million Dollar Blocks used a choropleth map of Chicago to tell the story behind the huge cost of incarcerating citizens. Illinois will spend 1.4 billion dollars on the Department of Corrections. A large proportion of that money will be spent on locking up Chicagoans from the low-income neighborhoods on the west and south sides of the city.

Chicago's Million Dollar Blocks maps how much money is being spent on incarcerating individuals from each Chicago block. A large number of these blocks in the west and south sides of the city are costing the city over a million dollars. The data is based on sentence lengths and on an estimation that the Department of Corrections spends approximately $22,000 per year for each inmate.

The map includes two main layers: All Offences & Drug-Related. If you mouse-over a block on the map you can view the cost to the state of both drug-related incarcerations and for all offences. If you zoom out on the map you can also view a choropleth layer showing the cost of incarceration at the neighborhood level.

This week the Oregonian also used a choropleth map to visualize the buildings in the city most likely to suffer earthquake damage, based on building age. 

In 1974 Oregon enacted its first statewide building code. In 1993 western Oregon adopted its first seismic standards. Franz Rad, a professor of civil & environmental engineering at Portland State University, argues that these dates provide a "broad-brush look at the vulnerability of buildings".

Portland buildings that predate 1974 are likely to be the most vulnerable to seismic activity. Buildings erected after 1974 are better built, and those built after 1993 are even better.

Earthquakes: How Vulnerable are Portland’s Buildings? takes the Portland building age data and colors the city building footprints to show buildings constructed before 1974, those constructed between 1974 & 1993 and buildings erected after 1993. You can therefore use the map to assess the likely vulnerability of any Portland building during an earthquake.

El Pais has also created an informative interactive map, to tell the story of Spanish municipality debt.

The Variation of Municipal Debt in the Last Legislature map shows which Spanish municipalities have increased or lowered their level of debt since 2011. Municipalities colored red on the map have increased their levels of debt and the municipalities in green have reduced their level of debt. You can find out the exact level of an individual municipality's debt by clicking on it on the map.

It is hard to get a complete overview of the numbers of municipalities that have managed to reduce their debt and those that have increased their overall debt just from the map view. It looks to me that about half of the municipalities are performing better economically and about half are performing worse. The good news is that many of the larger cities, such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia all seem to have managed to reduce their debt since 2011. 

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